I met up with Frank D. at 6:30am at the Happy Days parking lot for a really gorgeous and scenic trail run. It was dark for the first 1/2 hour so headlamps guided the way. My thought was that the trail could help heal the calf with such a varied and soft surface. It got sore throughout the run and the soreness/pain/discomfort started transmitting up my inner thigh but was not so bad that I couldn't continue. We looped the Ledges Trail, headed over to Virginia Kendall to the ever-challenging Salt Run Trail, hit the Pine Grove Trail on the way back, finished off the Ledges and got back to the parking lot at 9 miles. We then "cooled" down for another 3.25 miles on the Boston Run trail. Great run on a crisp and cool morning. I had never met Frank before but we'd seen each others' names on many race results and registrations. He has completed four 100-mile trail runs including August's Burning River 100...where I dropped at 55 miles. It was great to hook up with another fellow ultra-runner and share stories/strategies/future goals. No better way to spend Saturday morning before my family was even out of bed at home! Thanks, Frank for a great run! I'm sure we'll have many more in the time to come! We were done at 8:30am and I was off to Chick-Fil-A for my Chick-Fil-A Chicken Biscuit, hash rounds, and homemade lemonade!
Next up: our annual trip down to Rittman to the Bauman Apple Orchard. The last 2 Saturdays in September and 1st Saturday in October each year, they have somewhat of a festival there...GREAT for the kids and family. Kids' "train" rides, hot fresh kettle corn, hot dogs, cider, hay maze, petting zoo, and acres and acres of apple trees for hand-picking. The day was perfect with temps just below 60F and crystal-clear blue skies. I gotta tell ya...there is nothing like picking apples right off the tree and eating them. Well, maybe one other thing...eating a bag of kettle corn fresh out of the kettle itself! At $2 a bag, I could've pulled up a chair and eaten that stuff all day long. It was the best popcorn I had ever had.
When we first arrived, the girls played in the hay maze, barely glanced at the petting zoo area, and then we grabbed our plastic bag and apple orchard map and headed out back to pick apples. For one bag, you pay $10 for as much as you can possibly stuff in that bag...supposedly 1/2 bushel. We got mutsu, yellow-delicious, jonathan, fuji, and one other kind I can't remember. We inspect all the apples and make sure no holes/soft spots/black spots exist, then turn them till they break free...a cool technique to leave the stem on the tree. Plus, tradition has it that the girls always get up on my shoulders to pick those super-high apples. This should get really interesting as they girls get older, heavier, and taller! Once we packed full our bags, had a couple of apples stuffed in our bellies, we had a hot dog and cider lunch...for a whoppin' $1, then toured the "cider factory" to see how cider is made. The apples are first sorted as either good or bad apples. The good ones are cleaned and sent up to get bagged. The "bad" ones are crushed and the juice extracted to make cider. The juice is heated to 160F and then cooled for bottling in the back of the facility. What's really cool about this place is that anyone can walk anywhere in the back without an escort. Plus, employees are everywhere and very willing to answer any and all questions. We walk around each year to see this and it never seems to get old. Once we completed our self-guided tour, snapped a few more pics, and picked up our own gallon of fresh cider, we headed on home.
If you've never been down to Bauman, I encourage you to make it down there next fall. It's a short drive down there and you'll really be thankful you went. Make it a tradition!
Next up: be careful with my calf and get it back to 100%. Other than that, I'm planning on a 50K training run on Columbus Day throughout many trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park...most of which are part of the Burning River 100 course. This will be my last really long run before I leave for the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia on October 31st. The Mountain Masochist 50 Miler (aka: the Masochism) is on November 1st, leaving out of Lynchburg, VA.
Till next time.....Happy Trails, everyone!